June 12, 2005

Hating the President.

The other day, I was watching one of the old Larry King interviews that CNN has been running lately. There was King, in 1992, with Richard Nixon. Talking to my son, I worked the theme: you can't understand how much people hated Nixon. But my son has seen how people have hated Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. No, that was different. Nixon-hating was far beyond all of that.

Today, I read this in a NYT book review, written by Alan Ehrenhalt of John F. Harris's ''The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House'':
The passion of the Clinton haters is a phenomenon without equal in recent American politics. It is not based on any specific policies that Clinton promoted or implemented during his years in office. It is almost entirely personal. In its persistence and intensity, it goes far beyond anything that comparable numbers of people have felt about Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan or either of the presidents Bush. It surpasses even the liberals' longstanding detestation of Richard Nixon. The only political obsession comparable to it in the past century is the hatred that a significant minority of Americans felt for Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Sorry, I am not buying that. Clinton-hating and (G.W.) Bush-hating are at about the same intensity. Nixon-hating was wholly different. But it's quite clear that Ehrenhalt's real point is that Clinton didn't deserve it. Nevertheless, I stand by my point: if we're talking about visceral, emotional, nonrational loathing: Nixon got the most.

Ehrenhalt highlights the author's explanation of why Clinton inspired this hatred that he didn't deserve:
If, as Harris believes, Clinton was in the most important ways a competent president -- and certainly not a combative or ideological one -- then the conundrum of Clinton-hatred remains essentially unsolved. Harris does try to explain it. He suggests -- as others have -- that Clinton, not entirely through his own doing, suffered as the embodiment of a generation and a set of values that much of the country had never understood or been willing to accept. He was the tangible symbol of the Baby Boom, its conceits, its self-absorption, its lack of discipline and failures of responsibility. He was a child of the 1960's preaching to millions of people who had never come to terms with the 1960's and didn't want to be reminded of them.
It's an interesting theory, really. It goes with my point that Nixon was hated on a more personal level. The theory that Clinton embodied the Boomers will probably stick. It fits the facts well enough, and it has a satisfying breadth. The theory saves us from needing to think about the historical details of the period -- what happened in Bosnia? -- and allows us to contemplate American culture. Let's think about the 60s!

Ah, dammit, I'm back to thinking about Nixon again.

36 comments:

Simon Kenton said...

I think a lot of the people who hated Clinton did so because they had been taught not to lie, and Clinton did so with a kind of breathtaking zest that showed he was really happier lying than telling the truth. The lies most people tell are interested; told because you don't want to get caught. Clinton lied over trivialities where it didn't matter if he were caught or uncaught. He bore a luminous S on his chest: sociopath.

As a president, he was the great co-opter of recent decades. A Johnson, a Roosevelt, had a program and forced it through. Clinton's genius was to take the programs the right had readied and arrogate them to himself. He is already touted for welfare reform, which enraged the liberal wing of his party and which the Republicans had twice previously passed; and the balanced budget: An Eisenhower come to judgement!

I think the most useful lesson from Clinton is the value of intelligence in the presidency. From an IQ standpoint, Clinton and Jimmy Carter were apparently the highest since Jefferson. You mentioned, Dr. Althouse, the 'focus' that Bush can bring to certain parts of his presidency. Reagan, though brighter than many credited, accomplished what he did in part because he had it too. Both Carter and Clinton brought all that brilliance to bear on things like memorizing the solioquy of the idiot from "The Sound and the Fury" (Clinton) and vetting the prospective players on the White House tennis court (Carter). It's a dream of the highly intelligent that they can not merely rule (which anyone can do with the law behind him; see Campanella's great sonnet, "The People is a beast of muddy brain") but actually lead. Both these men, and on the other side, the notably brilliant Herbert Hoover, seem to reveal that the importance of intelligence in the presidency is minimal. Perhaps it is actually destructive, as leading a Carter into endless negative Hamlety dithering, a Hoover into the principled and philosophic rejection of action, a Clinton into the minutiae of polls and policy.

Roger Sweeny said...

Maybe Clinton hating is about not being able to come to terms with the 60s--but Clinton dislike (at least for me) is about betraying some of what was good about the 60s. In particular, it's about betraying what supposedly were the "lessons of Watergate."

Which were "no person is above the law," "the cover-up is worse than the crime--and inevitably will come unraveled," "you can't use the government against your political enemies." "Watergate" was supposedly about no more business as usual, no more corruption of power. And it said to politicians, "defend your leader when he doesn't deserve defense and you will get politically whalloped (the crushing defeat of the Repubicans in the 1974 elections).

Nixon constantly cut ethical corners and justified it by "I'm not doing anything anyone hasn't done before."

Alas, Clinton was the same way. Does anyone doubt there wasn't petty corruption in the Whitewater land deal? The impossibly good cattle future returns? But there was never an accounting, never an apology. The cover-up worked.

Nine hundred tax returns of political opponents show up at the White House one day. Gee, how did that happen? No one outside the administration ever finds out. No one is ever punished.

Richard Nixon presented himself as the speaker for the "silent majority," respectable, law-abiding people with manners. But on the White House tapes, he's heard ordering people to break the law, and swearing like a sailor.

Clinton presented himself as a feminist but he found it easy to use women. The Lewinsky affair may have been a third-rate blowjob but it was a betrayal of principals. Feminism had taught that a man in a position of power better be damn careful not to take advantage of the women who--by virtue of his position--he could help or hurt. Clinton was care-less.

And though it hurt him, it didn't hurt him much. Had he been able to run again in 2000, he would have been reelected. Poor Al Gore. Lacking the Clinton charm, but being associated with all 8 years of the Clinton administration, he kind of got the worst of both worlds and just lost when he tried to succeed Clinton in 2000. But there was never any Democratic rout, no large majorites for the Republicans in Congress like the Democrats got in 1974.

And don't get me started on Clinton's less than stalwart attitude toward civil liberties (much of what gets blamed on the Patriot Act actually comes from Clinton-era legislation).

Meade said...

I'm actually surprised Clinton is not hated more than he is - by liberals - whose core principles of civil rights, equal justice, and fairness were betrayed by Clinton's serial sexual harassments and violations of the civil rights of a state employee while he was governor.

Ann Althouse said...

Lmeade: Democrats closed ranks for him, and they're still closed. The subordination of feminism to party interests -- that's how the Democrats destroyed the loyalty I had to them. I might still vote for Democrats sometimes -- I voted for Senator Feingold -- but I thoroughly mistrust them. (Not saying I trust Republicans, of course.)

Troy said...

I think that's why Bush II and Reagan are hated more than Clinton (Can't speak for Nixon though with Vietnam, Watergate, etc. it must've been intense -- plus he just didn't seem personally likeable -- he always looks uncomfortable in footage).

Clinton really stands for nothing -- except Clinton. Who can hate that for long? It eventually turns to pity. I never hated Clinton, though I disliked him, but now I pity him. He is a sad and pathetic figure.

Bush and Reagan stand for something -- people who stand for something -- (and I'm not drawing direct comparisons necessarily so relax) Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther (and King, Jr. too), name scores of martyrs for causes... They are hated hated hated.

GW Bush will never be a Uniter -- people who stand on principle rarely unite because there will inevitably be those who don't want to sacrifice or fight for that principle.

There were a select few Republicans -- let's call them "idiots" -- who tried to dredge up Clinton as drug dealer, redneck mafioso, etc.

The mainstream of the Democratic party regularly attaches the worst motives to Bush and consorts with the Bush as Hitler crowd.

Dole, Gingrich, Hatch, both Bushes, et al. never even remotely slammed Clinton the way Pelosi, Boxer, Schumer, Rodham, Kennedy (his poor brothers must be rolling in their graves), et al. pound on Bush like a red-headed step child.

Meade said...

Ann: I'm with you 100% on that, as you already know.

We have an interesting race here in the 2nd district of Ohio where a Marine back from Iraq is vying for the Democratic party nomination for a seat in Congress vacated by a moderate Republican. The party base can't accept him because he is inadequately anti-war, anti gun, and pro abortion. This district mirrors Madison politically as in "mirror image."

Troy said...

Exhibit A
from Powerline blog of Bush hatred in Minnesota of all places.

Mark said...

I hated Clinton from 92 on because I thought he was a slimeball. His wife too. It's as simple as that and it's enough. Isn't that why people hated Nixon?

I don't usually hate people I think of as slimeballs (dislike instead), but the President is different. Perhaps it's frustration that half the country doesn't get it too.

Alcibiades said...

Sheesh, do you remember the Democrat's mantra in 1992 -- which the MSM bought hook, line and sinker: Character doesn't matter.

And then Clinton went and proved that in fact it didn't matter to him, over and over and over again, while the entire country got to watch.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Daniels said...

Actually, I think that the hatred toward Nixon and Clinton were roughly analogous and I suspect, for much the same reasons.

While Clinton is an extrovert and Nixon was an introvert, their approaches to politics were similar. Neither was ideological. Both were narcissists. Each were "great haters." When each was assailed for violating their oaths of office, they portrayed their critics as attacking the Constitution and they its fierce defenders. I think that they both might have believed that delusion.

Both were ardent schemers, which may explain the positive relationship the two of them had built up before Nixon's death. Nixon, Tricky Dick, deeply respected cynicism in leaders and could see it in Clinton, Slick Willy.

What ultimately protected Clinton from removal from office was that his defenders were able to make it appear that the impeachment and subsequent trial were all "about sex." Clinton is a personable guy. He has charm where Nixon was a cold fish.

As to the hatred for Bush, I think it is of a different variety, the result of the simplistic partisanship which often passes for principled conviction these days. Most of the country is not deeply partisan and regard the Washington kabuki dance between Republicans and Democrats as a meaningless sham that gets in the way of accomplishing things of substance. It causes people to look at politics with bemusement or utter detachment.

Meanwhile, the leaders of each party churn out miles of bile each day, red meat for their partisans, reasons for hating the other party's leader no matter who the leader is. Their propaganda also arouses the hatred of the other side and keeps the ridiculous dance alive.

There is hatred for political leaders today, including Bush, but it is largely confined to intense partisans, a small fragment of the total population. Not so with Clinton or Nixon, who roused intense hatred from lots and lots of people, as well as intense loyalty.

Jonathan said...

There was a lot about Clinton to hate. He was routinely dishonest, personally corrupt and treated political opponents (e.g., gun owners, small-business people) as class enemies. He had a history of abusing individuals, both to advance his political goals and to avoid responsibility for his reckless personal behavior, and he showed indifference toward civil liberties. His intellectual MO was to avoid open discussion of issues and instead to make personal attacks on his critics. He appeared to value his personal interests over the good of the country. He got some things right (NAFTA, part of our intervention against Serbia), but squandered much of his early presidency trying to implement unpopular far-left schemes and his later presidency in dealing with the fallout from his personal behavior. And he was asleep at the wheel WRT the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. But for the Left and many Democrats, Clinton was and remains the great hope, because despite his flaws he was the national Democrat who could best compete with the Republicans.

Bush II is a mixed bag. IMO the people who liked Clinton hate W because W is effective in countering their political agenda. If W were a leftist Democrat and had the same political skills as he has now, they would love him. The accusations against W for having supposed personal flaws are therefore really coded political disagreements. That's a different pattern of hatred from the one shown to Clinton, as many of Clinton's haters would have accepted his policies if he weren't such a scoundrel. The Bush haters and Clinton haters appear to be distinct populations with different values.

I think that Nixon haters share some of the values of both Clinton and Bush haters, since a lot of people disliked Nixon's corruption as well as his policies. But other presidents, notably LBJ, were at least as corrupt as Nixon, so on balance I think it's the policy disagreements that principally animate Nixon haters to this day. Nixon was a staunch anti-communist from the time of the Hiss prosecution, for which the Left will never forgive him. And the Right's concerns about communist imperialism were vindicated by the SE Asian bloodbath after our withdrawal from Vietnam (mainly on Nixon's watch, though he rarely receives credit), and the Left doesn't like to be reminded about this outcome.

I was too young to be a Nixon hater, though I might have been one if I had been older. But in retrospect Nixon, though a lousy president in many ways (e.g., wage & price controls!), was better than most of the realistic alternatives. Certainly he had the country's best interests at heart, and unlike some of his successors, particularly Clinton, he had a realistic idea about what we were up against in the world. I think that's a large part of why the Left still hates Nixon with such vehemence.

Mark Daniels said...

A few additional thoughts about the similarities between Nixon and Clinton:

Both were inveterate liars.

Both co-opted the opposition's message. Nixon, an advocate of balanced budgets and conservative principles, enacted wage and price controls by executive order and when the budget ran a deficit, declared himself a "Keynesian." After the 1994 midterm elections, when Democrats got their clocks cleaned, Clinton told Congress that the era of big government was through.

The sense that neither could ever be trusted afflicted them not only with those in their opposition parties, but also among those within their own parties. Rank and file members liked both. But those in Washington who had to deal with them found them frustrating and utterly self-centered.

Mark Daniels said...

lmeade: I live in the Second Ohio District as well.

Mark

Meme chose said...

Around here (SF Bay Area) what people really hate Bush for is that his success corrodes their self-esteem. This is agony for them.

They firmly believe you have to be stupid to subscribe to beliefs so different from theirs, that all smart people don't (they know a lot of smart people, and none of them around here are likely to admit to being Republicans), and yet Bush keeps kicking them politically all over the lot.

For these people, it's like being kicked in the nuts once a day when they get up, plus every time they open a newspaper or turn on the TV. Is it any wonder that they hate him?

Elizabeth said...

I changed my voter ID from Democrat to Independent after several betrayals by Clinton: screwing up national health care, failing gays serving in the military, and extending Most Favored Nation trade status to China, after promising explicitly not to in his campaign. But at the same time, I noted that the Get Clinton movement started basically the day after he was elected. My impression is that the Right had developed an assumption that it had a right to power, after 12 years of GOP presidency. The relentless attacks on Clinton were evidence of not a vast rightwing consipiracy, but a vast rightwing tantrum.

While I left the Democrats, I formed a solid revulsion for the GOP--and their non-stop series of expensive, tawdry investigations of Clinton supported that feeling. Why abhor Clinton while supporting Gingrich, who's Clinton's equal in every egocentric, morally bankrupt way? Because GOP supporters are about power, not principle. Clinton at least had ideas, and some concerns about the day to day lives of real people. I'll take that over the self-righteous puritanism of today's GOP any day.

dick said...

elizabeth,

I would really love to hear what Clinton's ideas about the lives of every day people was and his concerns for them.

Clinton had one concern and once concern only - William Jefferson Clinton - just as his wife has one concern and one concern only - The Clinton political machine. Anything else is just smoke and mirrors. The two of them would promise you the world and forget it the next minute. In the meantime the dems will support them and take any guff the Clintons hand out because the Clintons appear to be the only national dems that can win.

As for the right wing, the attempt to get that horrific national health care plan passed and the way they tried to get it passed cemented my hatred to start with. The laws were plain that the testimony and the meetings were to be open and minutes kept and released to the public. Just try to get copies. I doubt if you can even get copies now. You certainly couldn't then. The other point is that we elected a president, not co-presidents. Problem is we didn't even get that much. We got someone who tried to game the office and got by with it on charm. When you couple that with all the scandals dating back to the beginning of his presidency you will find why the right hates Clinton.

Jonathan said...

There was ample reason to oppose Clinton from the get-go. His bad qualities were evident, long before he ran for President, to anyone who took the time to look at his record. (The Arkansas journalist Paul Greenberg coined the famous nickname "Slick Willie" when Clinton was a mere governor.) Add to this the fact that the Clintons, with the avid assistance of the national press, ran a deceitful campaign, from the bogus lovey-dovey 60 Minutes interview to the pledge to enact a "middle-class tax cut." His subsequent feckless behavior as President surprised only those people who hadn't been paying attention or who had allowed hopefulness to cloud their judgment.

EddieP said...

I disliked Clinton from the moment we watched him and Hillary on the 1992 60 Minutes interview. I said to my wife, this guy's a slime ball. He proved me right.

Still it never came to hate, I was revolted by him and absolutely stunned when he refused to apologize to the nation and ask forgiveness for lying to us with his "I never ...... that woman, Ms. Lewinski and subsequent lying to the Judge in Arkansas and the Grand Jury, etc. etc.

I still don't hate him, nor Hillary, but I continue to be repulsed by the pair of them! There is much to dislike about GWB, but I trust him and thank God for him.

Meade said...

Elizabeth (or anyone else who defends Mr. Clinton), is it true for you what Ann Althouse said, that "Democrats closed ranks" for Bill Clinton rather than holding him accountable -- over his betrayals of feminism and the liberal principles of civil rights, equal justice, and fairness -- when he abused his power in a pattern of sexual harassment behaviour?

Ann Althouse said...

Just to be clear, I only slammed Clinton supporters and only for betraying feminism.

Meade said...

But with feminism being, for the most part, about civil rights, equal justice, and fairness, right?

Elizabeth said...

lmeade: I don't pretend to speak for anyone else, so maybe I can't answer your question satisfactorily. I was let down by Clinton, as a feminist, as a lesbian, and as an American who had hopes he'd live up to his promises--the ridiculously ham-handed approach to healthcare reform was but one failure of his potential. But the Lewinsky lies didn't come until after years of costly and rabid scandal-mongering by Clinton haters who started into work literally as soon as the polls closed in 1996. I despise them more than I do Clinton. And in answer to your question, Democrats, and institutions perceived as "liberal" certainly participated in dogging Clinton--most especially the so-called liberal media. Those who didn't condemn his lying--like NOW--lost credibility with me, and with others in their constituencies.

BUT--there's just no amount of lying Clinton could do to make me respect the foaming at the mouth Clinton-haters who moved from one ludicrous accusation (drugs! murder!) to the next, backed by big bucks and Gingrich's Congress. Gingrich, by the way, was getting blown by a member of his own staff in the same time frame Clinton was having his Lewinsky fling. The hypocrisy is what makes me sick. I don't forgive Clinton, and I didn't rally to him. I just chose him over the holier-than-thou, wingnut Clinton-haters. What I'm angriest at Clinton for is that he had the hubris to have that affair when he knew how closely he was being scrutinized. That was a terrible betrayal of his supporters. What a self-centered fool he was.

Bruce Hayden said...

Much to agree with here. I do believe that the reason that Nixon was hated so much had much to do with his outing of Alger Hiss almost two decades earlier. Hiss was one of the elite, best schools, worked for FDR, etc. And it turns out that he was a Communist agent (now proven when the Soviet records were opened up after the fall of the USSR).

Add to this that he beat McGovern so badly.

I never hated Clinton, but was rather more embarrased by him. The leader of the Free World getting a blow job while on the phone in the White House.

What I could never understand was the free pass that the liberals and esp. the feminists gave him. Here was someone who routinely victimized women, on a level that dwarfs that of many who have received the brunt of feminist ire. He was, and probably continues to to this day, a sexual preditor. Not Lewinsky. That was purely consensual. But all the others. Broderick. Jones, etc.

I come a lot closer with Hillary. Of the two, she is the venal one. She is the one who hires the PIs, pulls FBI and IRS records on opponents, organized the Bimbo Eruption patrols, etc. And it is she who was involved in the cattle futures, Whitewater, Madison Savings and Loan, Billing irregularities. And it is probably she who stole all that stuff from the White House when the left.

What is scary is that she probably has a higher probability of being the next president than anyone else in this country. And, she has the same character flaw as the president she helped bring down, Nixon - paranoia. If things go well, she would probably be a better president than her husband. But invariably they don't. And when things go bad, as they always do, and she starts feeling under pressure, I fear that she will go back to form - abusing the levers of power in her paranoia.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do think that the simularity between Clinton and Bush(43) is that a lot hated Clinton because they couldn't believe that the electorate could elect, then reelect, someone who was so friggen corrupt. And this may be similar to the hate that many liberals have for Bush that he could be elected and then reelected, despite being so friggen dumb. (Though, as it turns out, not quite as dumb as Kerry or Gore).

According to those on the other side, both of these presidents have a Teflon coating. Nothing sticks. And they just keep getting elected and reelected.

Bruce Hayden said...

On a slightly different line, Ann brought up a good point. The feminists gave Clinton a pass for some fairly outrageous behavior. The do it with others, notably Ted Kennedy. The liberal Blacks give Bob Byrd a pass for his racist past. And the Jews give a pass to the rampant anti-Semitism in part of the Black liberal establishment.

I suspect that the Democrats are not going to come back to power until they clean house - stop giving those on their side a pass for truly reprehensible behavior.

Before you go out and say that the Republicans are the same, they are not. Much of the attack on Trent Lott was on the right. It was the right side of the blogosphere that really went after him. And his one misstatement was de minimis compared to Byrd's racist past, or even to Clinton's sexual predations.

Meade said...

"What I'm angriest at Clinton for is that he had the hubris to have that affair when he knew how closely he was being scrutinized. That was a terrible betrayal of his supporters. What a self-centered fool he was."

Thanks for your reply, Elizabeth, but just so I understand -- you do not feel that Bill Clinton, a Democrat and liberal, albeit a foolish and self-centered one, by engaging in an admitted pattern of sexual harassment while he was governor of Arkansas and president of the United States, betrayed the essential elements of feminism. Is that right?

For the record, I've never hated any president, not even Nixon or Johnson, and it's my honest opinion that no U.S. president can be reasonably characterized as being "evil."

But as someone who voted for Clinton, and as the father of a daughter, the brother of sisters, married to a wife, and son of a mother, I cannot imagine ever forgiving Bill Clinton for his proven willingness to harass women and his failure to protect the equal civil rights of those same women.

To me, it is a sin exactly on par with Thomas Jefferson's failure to, by the end of his life, free the slaves he himself owned.

Their gods may forgive them for those sins; I will not.

Mark Daniels said...

The Mark who talked about hating Clinton isn't me. I try not to hate anyone.

amba said...

Loathing Nixon was rational, on an instinctual level, if that makes any sense. Look at him! That gunmetal five o'clock shadow, those beady, shifty eyes!

How much of it is simply physiognomy? And then again, how simple is physiognomy? Is it something like Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, where you take one look at a guy and dislike him, distrust him, and you're right?

Hatred for Clinton centered on his bulbous nose, self-indulgent gut and glad-handing, narcissistic complaisance. He was a walking, entitled, pleased-with-itself appetite. Hatred for Bush settles on his small eyes and low forehead, but most of all on his crooked, smirky, mean, lipless little mouth. Actually, Bush goes in and out of likability. He has moments, facial expressions, that are disarming and eager; then he presses those petulant lips together . . .

We see them as caricatures, ideographs of their own character.

Brett said...

"But at the same time, I noted that the Get Clinton movement started basically the day after he was elected."

Yes, that would have been about the time that he demanded the resignation of all federal prosecutors, and then rehired only the ones who weren't investigating his actions as Governor.

Part of what led Clinton hatred to be so intense, is that he spent a great deal of his time in office baiting his enemies. Look You don't want to turn over the Rose law firm billing records, "losing" them is one thing. Having them mysteriously turn up a day after the statute of limitations expires? That's nothing but rubbing your enemies' noses in the fact that you ARE guilty.

He was continually pulling things like that. Getting away with crimes was never enough for him, the cover up was never complete unless he left his enemies frothing over their inability to establish in court what was obvious to anybody not blinded by partisan loyalty.

The hatred was of his own creation, in other words.

Alcibiades said...

And speaking of recollecting Clinton -- check out the Drudge headline and write-up on the new Clinton book by Edward Klein. Looks like this new book is going to remind us of all the sordidness of the Clinton Presidency -- something which many of us no longer remember as deeply on a visceral level now that it is no longer before us day to day.

And best of all, it's written by someone with major MSM street cred and not a right winger at all.

But Hillary and her camp may have a hard time typecasting Ed Klein as a Clinton-crazed right-winger. Klein is the former foreign editor of NEWSWEEK and former editor in chief of the NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE. He is a frequent contributor to VANITY FAIR and PARADE.

Let the parade of spin begin.

Elizabeth said...

Oh goodness, Ed Klein's the guy who wrote the "expose" on John-John and Caroline Kennedy after they died. If that's the caliber of reference you have for your opinions on the Clintons, then I'm well out of this conversation.

Elizabeth said...

Oh goodness, Ed Klein's the guy who wrote the "expose" on John-John and Caroline Kennedy after they died. If that's the caliber of reference you have for your opinions on the Clintons, then I'm well out of this conversation.

Anthony said...

I think the Clinton-as-Stereotypical-Boomer-Incarnate is spot on, largely because that's what I've always thought. It's the main reason I disliked him as a "person" (for lack of a better word) and I strongly suspect that's what initiated hatred for him among those on the right. His shameless co-opting of rightist policies (NAFTA, welfare reform, etc.) just irritated them to no end as well. Rather like Nixon and China, I think. I sometimes wonder, somewhat fancifully, if the vast right-wing conspiracy really did exist: a lot of faux hatred that made this generally pliable man get the automatic support of Democrats to pass essentially conservative legislation.

Kinda irritated me when Castro played him like a fiddle though. But, heck, it was just over some dumb kid so no big deal.

Roger said...

"To me, it [Clinton's blah blah blah] is a sin exactly on par with Thomas Jefferson's failure to, by the end of his life, free the slaves he himself owned."

That's mighty white of you, lmeade.

Can I have your golf clubs by the end of your life?

Meade said...

roger: By "Clinton's blah, blah, blah," don't you mean, Governor/President Clinton's repeated violations of his employees' civil rights?